Do you have that extra something special? Do we all have it? I am sure we all do somewhere, but some of us use it in our day-to-day life with flair while it lies dormant in others. What is that something special? GRIT. No, not those grits served in southern kitchens at breakfast. I am talking about good old-fashioned grit. The kind that means you are not afraid of getting dirty, are driven, ambitious, resilient, and unstoppable. It is how some people make so much happen in their life.

How do we see grit in others? How does grit make some stand out more than others? It is the way someone goes the extra mile, adds the special touch, or takes it to the next level. It means doing way more than the minimum, and demands excellence that leads to the wow factor. It often means being willing to do things that might be unfavorable or not fun in order to get to your finish line.

Someone with grit is in it for the long haul. They see how hard it is to get to their goal and they are going to do whatever they can to make it happen. They are not afraid of hard work, rarely procrastinate, and are probably competitive. The underdog can have grit and so can the MVP and top performer. Not all that are successful have grit. It is an attitude. I read an article yesterday about a 570 pound man attempting to run a 5k every month in 2015 who has lost a lot of weight as a result. That takes grit.

Who do you know that has “grit” in your life?

Shock ’em

Last week I found this quote on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Instagram feed:

“Make it happen. Shock every single one of them.”

Think about it. What if we went through our day and thought how am I going to shock someone today? Much of the time we try to just make it through the day, but what if we raised the bar and made things happen? What if we went into each meeting or presentation and were completely focused and wowed folks because we pulled it off? What if we did the impossible? Or maybe it is not even impossible — maybe it is just something that left a wow factor. It could be the smallest, slightest moment that left a mark and was remembered.

The funny thing is the moments that are remembered are often the ones that are actually easy and often free to pull off. You might have made an effort to actually listen and remember key details from someone’s life. You asked about it the next time you see that individual. So easy, and just requires pure listening, and yet it has such an impact. I always notice when someone has taken the time to get to know me and then later (sometimes even months later) remembers a piece of our conversation. I try to do the same to others, but it is hard when you go from meeting to meeting all day. And yet, doing so shows true connection, relationship building, and care.

I am a get-it-done woman. I rarely let anything stand in my way. As Chris would say to me, “There is no changing your mind when you have made a decision you are going to do something.” He is right. I like to approach life with conviction, persistence, and, as I often say, by sucking the life out of each day. I want to bring that same zeal when shocking and wowing others. Think of all the times you have been wowed by amazing customer service, by friends and family who surprise you, or a stranger that does a random act of kindness. The key ingredient: someone showing you they care.

Shock the hell out of them.

Raising better human beings

Of course preparing myself to have a baby boy has me thinking of a lot of different ideas. I always thought it would be easier to raise a girl than a boy — for the simple fact that I am a girl and it felt more relevant to me. Having said that I have never really been a girly girl (nevermind the few years growing up that I was adamant that my sister play Barbies with me). Then I had to grow up fast and, well, my most girly girl self was replaced with real live survival.

Of course I enjoy a bit of dressing up — you know once every year, where I bring out those uncomfortable high heels, and Chris oohs and aahs, and then those shoes collect dust in the back of the closet. I am and always will be most comfortable with myself when I am comfortable. Flip-flops, comfy outfits, and hopefully all that just falls in the background so that others see just me. Not what I am wearing or how it fits. As none of that really matters. I digress — this blog post’s intent is nothing about that at all.

Over the weekend, I came across this article “Why Boys Need To Play With Girl Toys Too” and I thought I wonder what Chris thinks of that? No matter at the moment, because whether he is okay with it or not, the message that I left with that I want to bring in to our parenting (we’ll talk Chris) is that I want to teach my son to care. For some that may mean a boy playing with a doll, or maybe it is about nurturing an animal or pet, whatever the vehicle I want to make sure to show my son how to care. That in my mind starts with Chris and me. For a long time he will watch us, emulate us, and learn the way of the world from our example. If he wants to play with dolls and we do not let him, that sends him a message. You get the point.

And in the end, while I have not really even started this raise-a-child thing, I can tell you I was one (with not the best childhood), and I spent from the age of 9 – 23 babysitting, working in day cares, and nannying — what matters most is that you show them you care. You do this by being present, listening, and appreciating what they have to say. By showing you care, they respond and show that to others. To me that is what matters most.

Moved by Greatness

You get a chill that runs up your arm. You are inspired to workout and challenge yourself after hearing about someone who has to break through extreme physical boundaries. The words in a speech or talk leave you pondering your life and what changes you can make. What do they each have in common? Greatness that moves you to be, do, and live better.

I love the idea of greatness. Whatever part of our life where we can encourage, demand, and honor greatness. It is something I look for in others. What are they doing in their life to raise their game? What are they doing to raise the game of others? A second day in a row I am sharing a Daily Om that made me think about life. This particular email titled “The Greatness in Others” made me think about how often we forget that it is already within us:

“We are all moved by greatness when we see it, and although the experience is to some degree subjective, we know the feeling of it. When we encounter it, it is as if something in us stirs, awakens, and comes forth to meet what was inside us all along.”

I want to always be awake and aware for those moments when I find greatness deep inside. The question is, what do we do when we find it? How do we bring it out in others? I hope to always be around people who inspire greatness in themselves and those that they are around. It keeps life real, interesting, and allows us to grow.

Who has inspired greatness in your life?

Grace at its core

I have always loved the word grace. There is something about it that is so simple and yet makes my mind ponder and soak up all that it really means. Grace is a word that can have so many words to describe it and in some ways that makes it a vast and complex word and in other ways it makes it so simple. I know a lot of individuals that feel that grace is something they have to constantly track down as it ebbs and flows in their life. I have felt that way too.

Often when I think of grace, I think of poise. I am not musically inclined (yes, do not ask me to sing for you), and I have two left feet, and I am incredibly uncoordinated. Thus, I have never felt very graceful. Over time when I went from keeping my voice inside to spewing my mind and thoughts, to being incredibly direct, at times means that I struggle with how graceful I am. It means that sometimes I am still learning how to stay direct, speak my mind, and share my voice while also trying to be gracious or graceful in my delivery. Not at all an easy task.

I was reminded of my continued interest in grace while recently reading a Daily Om newsletter on the topic of grace titled: “Living a Life of Grace.” This line specifically stood out to me:

“Grace is the state we are in when we are doing nothing but just being who we are.”

At its core grace means we are being true to ourselves, no filters. So maybe that means I should just be me and think less about my grace. What do you think?